I started really writing about the shore in 2007 while writing the first edition of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May. From the dining room table of an Avalon summer rental house, I created a blog called Down the Shore with Jen as a place to write about things going on in the Atlantic City to Cape May region that didn’t fit in a 250-page guide book.
I learned something soon after that first post (which was about which to do on a rainy shore day – see a movie or go bowling): people are really passionate about the Jersey Shore.
I had spent every summer of my life here, and thought I was the only one who cared, but no! You really wanted to know the date of lifeguard races, where to find the best produce stand. You had very strong opinions on whether or not back roads should be shared, and which boardwalk is the best.
And when I asked where the heck is West Wildwood, you told me where, and showed me around – and then shared the piece I wrote about it so others, too, would know about this gem over the Glenwood Avenue Bridge.
That passion has fueled what I write about the Shore. It turned a book project that I did on a lark into a large part of my professional life, and I’ve been honored enough to write about the Jersey Shore for the New York Times, Salon.com, American Way, and New Jersey Monthly, and a second edition of that travel guide.
But there’s something lost in translation when writing about the shore for a magazine or newspaper or a book. That love of the weird, and celebration of the fun of the Jersey Shore, can be edited out.
But not here, which is why I’ll be your shore correspondent here at Newsworks.org.
Every week, I’ll be exploring the nooks and crannies of the South Jersey Shore that make it such a special corner of the world. Tradition is what keeps us going back year after year, but it’s always changing, too.
This summer, a new casino is opening in Atlantic City, as is a new Convention Center in Cape May. Beach Plum Farms has transformed from a place to grow fresh produce for a few restaurants into a full fledged operation with chickens and pigs – with weekend bike tours. There’s not one but two new South Jersey Shore craft breweries, and this summer we’ll find out the answers as to whether or not Anne Hathaway’s really getting married in her summer shore town of Cape May.
Later this week, you’ll read about a 44-mile relay race that goes from Cape May to Margate, and how this free (yes free!) event came to be, along with an interview with the guy who’s running that distance solo.
Then come back on Saturday and follow the progress of my relay team – called, of course, the Tramps Like Us – as we battle our way north.
Strange? Yes. But that’s what the shore is all about. It’s going to be a fun ride.